Second Round - Afternoon
TAYLOR SNEAKS PAST HENDRIKS AS DOLAN, NEWTON & HAMILTON PROGRESS IN GERMANY
Phil Taylor avoided a huge scare before seeing off young Dutchman Jerry Hendriks in the PartyPoker.net European Championship on Saturday afternoon, and was joined in reaching the quarter-finals by Brendan Dolan, Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton.
Taylor, the reigning and four-time European Champion, found himself 4-2 down to the 23-year-old from Venlo at one stage and stared down the barrel of moving three legs behind.
Hendriks, though, missed two darts for a 5-2 lead before Taylor hit back to level and then take out a key 164 in leading 7-6, before winning three of the next four legs to seal a hard-fought victory.
"I was a bit worried to be honest," admitted Taylor. "I couldn't seem to break Jerry's throw and his finishing was great, especially the 142 checkout he hit early on to go 3-2 up.
"I'm not at my best yet but I'm through to Sunday and the quarter-finals. I know I'll have to improve but I won't give this title up easily."
Hendriks had impressed with his first round win over Mensur Suljovic on his European Championship debut, and he admitted: "I'm a little bit disappointed but I felt great on stage and the crowd were great.
"I was always confident but Phil beat me fair and square and he's a great idol of mine. My goals this year were to qualify for the European Championship and World Championship, so I've done the first one and want to get into the World Championship now."
Taylor now plays Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan in the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon in a repeat of last year's World Grand Prix final.
Dolan booked his place in the last eight with a 10-5 win over Germany's Andree Welge, who rode the wave of home support in taking a 5-3 lead before missing two darts to extend his lead in a crucial ninth leg.
His opponent hit double eight to pull back to 5-4, and then won the next six legs without reply to progress.
""It feels really good to have won that. It didn't really happen for me early on and I took a while to find my feet but the second half of the game really went my way," said Dolan. "If I'd have gone 6-3 down I would have been under enormous pressure, so to win that and go 5-4 kick-started me. I'm rooming with Wes Newton so I'll stay to watch his game and then watch Phil Taylor playing Jerry Hendriks because I've got the winner of that tomorrow, but I don't care who I play.""
Wes Newton and Andy Hamilton, who are the fourth and fifth seeds respectively in the tournament, were the afternoon's other winners as they set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash.
Newton defeated Kevin Painter 10-5, with a run of six successive legs for the Fleetwood ace in mid-game proving crucial as he moved clear from three-all to reach the quarter-finals of this event for the first time.
"It was a good game to win and I'm happy with that," said Newton. "I feel I can score with the best of them at the minute, I'm playing really well and am happy with my game.
"It's a massive game against Andy - not only in terms - of the rankings because we're fifth and sixth in the world - and hopefully we'll push each other and it will be an awesome game."
Hamilton, meanwhile, was a 10-8 winner against Ronnie Baxter in a see-saw clash which saw the Blackpool ace lead 6-3 at one stage only for the World Championship finalist to win four successive legs - including a 160 checkout - to move into a lead he would never relinquish.
"Ronnie played well and it was an enjoyable game, and a real battle too," said Hamilton. "The 160 changed the game in my favour but I was never worried.
"My form's come good and my confidence is high, and the player who fought the hardest today came out on top."
Second Round - Evening
BARNEY AIMING FOR GLORY FOLLOWING THRILLING WIN OVER DUTCH RIVAL
Raymond van Barneveld has set his sights on ending a five-year wait for a major title at the PartyPoker.net European Championship on Sunday after a brilliant second round win over Michael van Gerwen at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim, Germany.
The five-time World Champion's last televised individual win came at the 2007 Las Vegas Desert Classic, but he continued his brilliant form in the European Championship with a 10-9 defeat of his fellow Dutchman van Gerwen.
Van Barneveld had averaged 113 and hit six doubles from as many attempts in the first round against Terry Jenkins, and ended his contest with van Gerwen with a 102 average, seven 180s and checkouts of 156 and 136 in a brilliant game.
Van Gerwen played his part, landing six 180s and hitting back from 9-7 down to force a decider, but van Barneveld hit a maximum in a 14-darter to take victory.
He now plays Kim Huybrechts in the quarter-finals on Sunday, and is aiming to take the 50,000 pound first prize if he can maintain his form across three matches on the day.
"In this shape, with the darts set-up I have, I really believe I can beat any opponent but I'll have to be perfect and concentrate on my own game on Sunday," said the Dutchman.
" It was an exciting game and Michael played awesome darts. He started brilliantly and I just had to try and keep my own throw all the way through the game and not leg him break me. He's in great form, and it's not very often anyone will lose a game with a 103 average. I almost gave it away to him when I missed the four darts to win 10-7, but the 180 in the final leg really helped me.
Belgium's emerging star Huybrechts reached the quarter-finals for a second successive year with a 10-5 win over Ian White, hitting checkouts of 164, 121, 108 and 101 in a strong performance.
" I'm really happy I won but I could have played better. Ian's been in great form so I was a bit worried coming into this game, but I got the win and finished well. Reaching the quarter-final again was my aim but I'd like to go further," said Huybrechts.
"Raymond's a great player and it will be lovely to play him. I believe I can do well for three games on Sunday, but I'll take each game at a time. I feel good and I'm really enjoying the tournament."
Australian Simon Whitlock maintained his challenge for a maiden major title with a 10-5 win over Dave Chisnall, coming from 3-1 down to win six successive legs in taking command.
Whitlock ended the game having hit ten from 13 attempts at doubles in a clinical performance, and said: "I'm delighted with that and my finishing was superb, which is pleasing because I focus on my doubles in practice. Dave had a great start but to go into the first break at 3-2, when it could have been 4-1, was important and I went on to win the next five legs too. It was great to have a win last weekend in the Players Championship in Barnsley and I was fantastic, and I want to improve my game to that level on Sunday.
I want to lift that trophy on Sunday night and I'll take one game at a time until I hopefully do that - bring it on!"
Whitlock now plays Colin Lloyd in the last eight, after the former World Matchplay champion punished Richie Burnett for 25 missed doubles in a 10-8 win, with the Welshman crucially off-target 20 times on tops during the contest.
"Richie kept letting me in, and in the end I punished him," said Lloyd. "There's lots of room for improvement because I gave myself so many opportunities and didn't take them but I got the win and that's all that matters.
"I know I've got to up my game a bit because I'm a little bit erratic at the minute, but it's a new day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it."